Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Should a vaccine for COVID-19 be made mandatory in Canada, once it’s created?

Roughly 60 per cent of Canadians think so, according to the latest Leger poll

The world could be months to years away from developing a vaccine against COVID-19, but the novel coronavirus’s disruption of daily life has some Canadians hoping that immunizations will be made mandatory.

According to results from an online Leger poll released on Tuesday (April 28), 60 per cent of 1,515 Canadian respondents said they think a vaccine should be mandatory once one is created, tested and approved. The remaining 40 per cent said it should be voluntary.

Broken down by province, support for a mandatory vaccine was a view shared highest in Atlantic Canada, at 63 per cent, followed by 62 per cent in Ontario. The poll found 52 per cent of respondents from Manitoba and Saskatchewan support a mandatory vaccines, the lowest across all provinces.

B.C. respondents were split 60 per cent for mandatory vaccination, 40 per cent for it to be voluntary.

Meanwhile, the 1,016 respondents from the United Stats were split 50-50 on the issue.

READ MORE: 70% of Canadians agree with mandatory measles vaccine for children: poll

READ MORE: Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

While the online poll could not include a margin of error, meaning it cannot be entirely exact, it is the first to shed light on what could become a contentious public health debate once a vaccine is ready.

COVID-19 has done its share of damage in Canada in recent months, forcing thousands out of work, sparking bans and restrictions on public outings and a temporary closure of the country’s borders.

At least 48,000 Canadians have contracted the contagious respiratory illness. Roughly 2,700 people, most of those seniors, have died due to or related to the virus.

Vaccines are not mandatory in Canada.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is too soon to speak on whether any immunizations would be required.

“We still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right,” Trudeau said, adding that there may be treatments that help manage the spread of the novel coronavirus as countries look for a vaccine, similar to the current response to HIV/AIDS as researches have gone years hunting for a vaccine to no avail.

“There are obviously going to be extremely important decisions around how to best get to that level of vaccination that will prevent further spread of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

“There’s a lot of studies done on that over the past years in terms of what threshold of the population needs to vaccinated in order to prevent any spread of a disease and that research will obviously inform decisions we take around the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.”

The federal government has provided $275 million in funding for vaccine and antiviral development and clinical trials globally, including $27 million across 47 teams of scientists researching the novel coronavirus.

In B.C., this isn’t the first time in recent years that policy on vaccinations has become the talking point of an infectious disease. In 2019, the province launched a mandatory immunization program across schools to stamp out a resurgence of the contagious measles disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix launched the province-wide program and a target of immunizing 95 per cent of residents, with the exception being exemptions for medical or “philosophical reasons,” he said at the time.

In September 2019, as school returned, the province also implemented a mandatory vaccine record check.

A poll by Angus Reid Institute conducted that year suggested that that 70 per cent of Canadians believed in mandatory vaccinations in children. Roughly 24 per cent said it should be the parent’s choice, while seven per cent were undecided on the issue.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this month that there likely won’t be a mass vaccination process.

“We do have plans across the province for mass vaccination clinics,” she said. “I would not see us having mandatory immunization for this.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch 94-year-old in Saanich earns permanent Canadian residency

Couple of 45 years to stay together in Cadboro Bay

Ron MacDonnell leans over the railing on Beacon Wharf Tuesday afternoon. The Town of City is currently looking into the future of the aging structure. It could make way for a concrete pontoon once part of the floating bridge over Hood Canal in Washington State. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney explores public-private partnership for iconic Beacon Wharf

Wharf committee recommends town invite pontoon company to submit proposal

Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is shown during a news conference in Ottawa in 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Isolating provinces is a bad idea, says Canadian Chamber of Commerce

National business organization calls for cohesive approach to COVID-19 measures

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read